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Publication numberUS20060114920 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/000,667
Publication dateJun 1, 2006
Filing dateDec 1, 2004
Priority dateDec 1, 2004
Also published asEP1825605A2, US20070160024, US20070177619, WO2006060342A2, WO2006060342A3
Publication number000667, 11000667, US 2006/0114920 A1, US 2006/114920 A1, US 20060114920 A1, US 20060114920A1, US 2006114920 A1, US 2006114920A1, US-A1-20060114920, US-A1-2006114920, US2006/0114920A1, US2006/114920A1, US20060114920 A1, US20060114920A1, US2006114920 A1, US2006114920A1
InventorsEdward Jung, Royce Levien, Robert Lord, Mark Malamud, John Rinaldo
Original AssigneeJung Edward K, Levien Royce A, Lord Robert W, Malamud Mark A, Rinaldo John D Jr
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Status indicator for communication systems
US 20060114920 A1
Abstract
A variety of techniques and devices for acquiring user status information at a transmitting device to a receiving device, or vice versa, are provided.
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Claims(127)
1. A method comprising:
acquiring a user status information for a user of a receiving device that indicates a status of the user of the receiving device, wherein the user status information is sent to a transmitting device.
2. The method of claim 1, wherein the user status information is sent from the receiving device to the transmitting device.
3. The method of claim 1, wherein the user status information is sent from a network location operationally positioned between the transmitting device and the receiving device to the transmitting device.
4. The method of claim 1, wherein the acquiring the user status information includes indicating a location of the user.
5. The method of claim 1, wherein the acquiring the user status information includes indicating a local time.
6. The method of claim 1, wherein the acquiring the user status information includes indicating a type of the receiving device.
7. The method of claim 1, wherein the acquiring the user status information includes indicating one or more device capabilities of the receiving device.
8. The method of claim 1, wherein the acquiring the user status information includes indicating a condition of the receiving device.
9. The method of claim 1, wherein the user status information that is sent to the transmitting device is displayed on a display.
10. The method of claim 1, wherein the user status information that is sent to the transmitting device is projected as voice or audio.
11. The method of claim 1, further comprising an establishing a communication setup between the transmitting device and the receiving device, wherein said acquiring the user status information is performed in response to said establishing the communication setup.
12. The method of claim 11, wherein the establishing the communication setup includes an establishing a telephone setup.
13. The method of claim 11, wherein the establishing the communication setup includes an establishing an e-mail setup.
14. The method of claim 11, further comprising a providing a sender an option at the transmitting device to terminate the communication setup between the transmitting device and the receiving device prior to the establishing a communication connection between the transmitting device and the receiving device.
15. The method of claim 11, further comprising providing a sender an option at the transmitting device to establish a communication connection at some later time between the transmitting device and the receiving device as indicated from the receiving device at least partially in response to the acquiring the user status information.
16. The method of claim 15, wherein said later time corresponds to some convenient time for the user at the receiving device.
17. The method of claim 11, further comprising providing a sender an option at the transmitting device to establish a communication connection between the transmitting device and an alternate receiving device as indicated at least partially in response to the acquiring the user status information.
18. The method of claim 17, wherein the receiving device includes a telephone while the alternate receiving device includes a voicemail system.
19. The method of claim 11, wherein the establishing the communication setup relies on a computer-based network.
20. The method of claim 11, wherein the establishing the communication setup involves the user providing input over one or more from a group, the group includes a cell phone, a land line, a Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) phone device, a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA), a teleconferencing device, an e-mail, a videoconferencing device, a satellite phone device, an instant messaging device, or a hybrid device.
21. The method of claim 11, wherein the establishing the communication setup involves the user providing input to be transmitted to one or more from a group, the group includes a cell phone, a land line, a Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) phone device, a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA), a teleconferencing device, a videoconferencing device, a satellite phone device, an e-mail, an instant messaging device, or a hybrid device.
22. The method of claim 1, further comprising providing an inaccurate user status of the receiving device to the transmitting device at least partially in response to the acquiring the user status information.
23. The method of claim 1, wherein the acquiring the user status information includes an acquiring a time-zone of the receiving device that is provided to the transmitting device.
24. The method of claim 1, wherein the acquiring the user status information includes an acquiring a time-zone of the transmitting device that is provided to the receiving device.
25. The method of claim 1, wherein the acquiring the user status information includes transmitting a location at which the receiving device is located to the transmitting device.
26. The method of claim 1, further comprising providing a user option at the transmitting device to establish a communication connection between the transmitting device and the receiving device at least partially in response to the acquiring the user status information.
27. The method of claim 1, wherein the acquiring the user status information includes deriving a user locational information that describes an at least one position of the receiving device which is provided to the transmitting device.
28. The method of claim 27, wherein the at least one position of the receiving device is indicated relative to the transmitting device.
29. The method of claim 27, wherein the at least one position of the receiving device is indicated relative to at least one location.
30. The method of claim 27, wherein the at least one position of the receiving device is indicated relative to at least one landmark.
31. The method of claim 1, wherein the information derived at the receiving device describes a position of the receiving device.
32. The method claim 1, wherein the information derived at the receiving device is determined for at least one position relative to the receiving device.
33. The method of claim 1, further comprising an allowing the user to establish a communication connection in response to the acquiring the user status information using at least one of a switch, a button, a voice, or a timeout mechanism.
34. The method of claim 33, wherein the allowing the user to establish a communication connection using the button involves allowing the user to physically depress a hard button.
35. The method claim 33, wherein the allowing the user to establish a communication connection using the button involves allowing the user to select a soft button.
36. The method of claim 1, further comprising a receiving information at a location between the receiving device and the transmitting device at least in part to the acquiring the user status information.
37. The method of claim 36, wherein the receiving information is at least partially performed over a back channel.
38. The method of claim 36, wherein the receiving information is performed at least in part in response to a second user at the transmitting device inputting a phone number.
39. The method claim 36, wherein the acquiring the user status information at the transmitting device is performed at least in part in response to a second user inputting an e-mail.
40. The method of claim 1, wherein the acquiring the user status information is based on receiving at least one from a group, the group including a time from a local time indicator, a time zone from a time zone indicator, a city from a city indicator, a location indicator, a landmark indicator, a street address from a street address indicator, or one or more position coordinates from a Global Positioning System (GPS) device.
41. The method of claim 1, wherein the acquiring user status information results, at least in part, from the user providing input to a user interface.
42. The method of claim 1, further comprising a querying a database to derive at least some information that is acquired as the user status information.
43. The method of claim 42, further comprising locating at least a part of the database at the receiving device.
44. The method of claim 42, further comprising locating at least a part of the database at a network location that is operationally positioned between the transmitting device and the receiving device.
45. The method of claim 42, further comprising responding to the querying the database by a filtering of the user status information that is contained in the database.
46. The method of claim 45, wherein the filtering of the user status information is at least partially performed at least in part in response to a manual user input.
47. The method of claim 45, wherein the filtering of the user status information is at least partially performed in response to an automated user input based at least in part upon input previously input by the user at the receiving device.
48. The method of claim 45, wherein the filtering of the user status information relates at least in part to at least one from selecting from a group, the group including a contact list, a list of specifically identified individuals, or a list of specifically identified groups of individuals.
49. The method claim 45, wherein the filtering of the user status information at least partially involves a providing logging attempts, or considering those individuals that are associated with one or more of the provided logging attempts.
50. The method of claim 1, further comprising adjusting a granularity of the user status information based, at least in part, on an identity of the transmitting device.
51. A status system comprising:
a status acquiring device that is configured to acquire a user status information of a receiving device at a transmitting device.
52. The status system of claim 51, wherein the transmitting device establishes a communication setup with the receiving device, and wherein the status acquiring device can acquire the user status information of the receiving device at the transmitting device at least partially in response to the transmitting device establishing the communication setup.
53. The status system of claim 51, wherein the transmitting device acquiring the user status information includes the transmitting device indicating a location of a user.
54. The status system of claim 51, wherein the transmitting device acquiring the user status information includes the transmitting device indicating a local time.
55. The status system of claim 51, wherein the transmitting device acquiring the user status information includes the transmitting device indicating a type of the receiving device.
56. The status system of claim 51, wherein the transmitting device acquiring the user status information includes indicating the receiving device's acquiring capabilities.
57. The status system of claim 51, wherein the transmitting device acquiring the user status information includes the transmitting device acquiring a condition.
58. The status system of claim 57, wherein the condition includes a weather condition.
59. The status system of claim 51, further comprising the transmitting device establishing a communication setup between the transmitting device and the receiving device, wherein the transmitting device acquiring the user status information is performed at least partially in response to the transmitting devices establishing a communication setup.
60. The status system of claim 59, wherein the transmitting device establishing the communication setup includes the transmitting device establishing a telephone setup.
61. The status system of claim 59, wherein the transmitting device establishing the communication setup includes the transmitting device establishing an e-mail setup.
62. The status system of claim 51, further comprising an option device that is configured to allow a user at the transmitting device to select whether to establish a communication connection between the transmitting device and the receiving device.
63. The status system of claim 51, wherein the user status information that is acquired by the status acquiring device includes a locational information that describes a position of the receiving device.
64. The status system of claim 51, wherein the user status information that is acquired by the status acquiring device includes a locational information that describes information at a location of the receiving device.
65. The status system of claim 51, wherein the status acquiring device acquires the user status information at least partially in response to a user input from at least one from a group, the group includes a switch, a button, or a timeout mechanism, wherein the user input is transmitted between the receiving device and the transmitting device.
66. The status system of claim 51, wherein the status acquiring device includes a back channel that extends between the transmitting device and the receiving device.
67. The status system of claim 51, wherein the status acquiring device acquires the user status information at least partially in response to a user at the transmitting device inputting into a phone system including the transmitting device an identifier of the receiving device.
68. The status system of claim 67, wherein the status acquiring device acquired the user status information at least partially in response to the user inputting a phone number corresponding to the receiving device.
69. The status system of claim 51, wherein the status acquiring device acquires the user status information, at least in part, in response to a user at the transmitting device inputting an identifier of the receiving device into an e-mail system including the transmitting device.
70. The status system of claim 51, wherein the status acquiring device acquires the user status information at least in part to a user inputting a phone number for the receiving device at the transmitting device, but wherein the user has not selected a call button.
71. The status system of claim 51, wherein the user status information includes at least one from a group, the group includes a local time indicator, a time zone indicator, a city indicator, a location indicator, a landmark indicator, a street address indicator, or a Global Positioning System (GPS) device.
72. The status system of claim 51, further comprising a database that is queried to provide the user status information, wherein the database is at least partially located at the receiving device.
73. The status system of claim 72, wherein the database is at least partially located at at least one network location, the at least one network location is situated between the transmitting device and the receiving device.
74. The status system of claim 72, further comprising a filter responding to the database that is queried by a filter that filters user status information that is contained in the database.
75. The status system of claim 74, further comprising the filter that filters user status information responding, at least in part, to a manual user input.
76. The status system of claim 74, further comprising the filter that filters user status information responding, at least in part, to an automated user input.
77. The status system of claim 74, wherein the filter that filters user status information considers at least one from a group, the group including a contact list, a list of specifically identified individuals, or a list of specifically identified groups of individuals.
78. The status system of claim 74, wherein the filter that filters user status information considers logging attempts and one or more persons trying to view such information.
79. The status system of claim 51, further comprising adjusting a granularity of the user status information.
80. The status system of claim 51, wherein the transmitting device includes one or more from a group, the group including one or more of a cell phone, a land line phone, a Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) phone, a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) device, a teleconferencing device, a videoconferencing device, a satellite phone device, an e-mail device, an instant messaging device, or a hybrid device.
81. The status system of claim 51, wherein the receiving device includes one or more from a group, the group includes one or more of a cell phone, a land line, a Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) phone device, a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) device, a teleconferencing device, a videoconferencing device, a satellite phone device, an e-mail device, an instant messaging device, or a hybrid device.
82. The status system of claim 51, further comprising the status acquiring device providing an inaccurate user status information at the transmitting device that is based at least in part on input from a user at the receiving device.
83. A method comprising:
receiving a communication setup from a transmitting device; and
transmitting a user status information to the transmitting device, wherein the user status information indicates a status of a user at a receiving device.
84. The method of claim 83, wherein the receiving a communication setup includes receiving a telephone setup.
85. The method of claim 83, wherein the receiving a communication setup includes receiving an e-mail setup.
86. The method of claim 83, wherein the receiving a communication setup includes receiving a computer-based communication device setup.
87. The method of claim 83, wherein the transmitting the user status information includes transmitting a time-zone of the receiving device to the transmitting device.
88. The method of claim 83, wherein the transmitting the user status information includes transmitting a location at which the user at the receiving device is located to the transmitting device.
89. The method of claim 83, wherein the transmitting the user status information includes transmitting to the transmitting device an indication of whether the user at the receiving device is busy.
90. The method of claim 83, wherein the transmitting the user status information includes transmitting a time that the user at the receiving device will no longer be busy to the transmitting device.
91. The method of claim 83, wherein the transmitting the user status information includes transmitting an at least one receiving device capability to the transmitting device.
92. The method of claim 83, wherein the transmitting the user status information to the transmitting device includes transmitting a position of the receiving device.
93. The method of claim 83, wherein the transmitting the user status information to the transmitting device includes transmitting an information at a location of the receiving device.
94. The method of claim 83, wherein the transmitting the user status information to the transmitting device is provided at least partially by the user providing a user input via at least one from a group, the group including a switch, a button, or a timeout mechanism.
95. The method of claim 94, wherein the switch, the button, or the timeout mechanism are located, at least in part, at the receiving device.
96. The method of claim 94, wherein the switch, the button, or the timeout mechanism are located, at least in part, at a network location operationally situated between the receiving device and the transmitting device.
97. The method of claim 83, wherein the transmitting the user status information occurs at least partially over a back channel.
98. The method of claim 83, wherein the transmitting the user status information includes transmitting at least one from a list, the list includes at least one from a local time indicator, a time zone indicator, a city indicator, a location indicator, a landmark indicator, a street address indicator, or a Global Positioning System (GPS) device.
99. The method of claim 83, wherein the transmitting the user status information further comprises a querying a database.
100. The method of claim 99, wherein the database is at least partially located at the receiving device.
101. The method of claim 99, wherein the database that is operationally situated between the transmitting device and the receiving device.
102. The method of claim 99, further comprising responding to the querying the database by a filtering of the user status information contained in the database.
103. The method of claim 102, wherein the filtering of the user status information is performed at least partly in response to manual user input.
104. The method of claim 102, wherein the filtering of the user status information is performed at least partially in response to automated user input that is based upon a prior input from the user at the receiving device.
105. The method of claim 102, wherein the filtering of the user status information relates, at least in part, to selecting from at least one from a list, the list including one or more of a contact list, a list of specifically identified individuals, or a list of specifically identified groups of individuals.
106. The method of claim 102, wherein the filtering of the user status information relates, at least in part, to considering logging attempts and one or more persons trying to view such information.
107. The method of claim 83, further comprising adjusting a granularity of the user status information based, at least in part, to an identity of the transmitting device.
108. The method of claim 83, wherein the transmitting the user status information is performed from one or more of a group of devices, the group of one or more devices includes a cell phone, an e-mail device, a land line, a Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) phone device, a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) device, a teleconferencing device, a videoconferencing device, a satellite phone device, an instant messaging device, or a hybrid device.
109. The method of claim 83, wherein the transmitting the user status information further comprising providing an inaccurate user status information at least partially based on a user input at the receiving device.
110. A status system comprising:
transmitting means that is configured for transmitting a message;
receiving means that is configured for receiving the message; and
means for acquiring a user status information from the receiving means at the transmitting means, wherein the user status information indicates a status of a user who is situated at the receiving means.
111. The status system of claim 110, further comprising a means for establishing a communication setup between the transmitting means and the receiving means, wherein the means for acquiring the user status information indicates the status of the user at least partially in response to the means for establishing the communication setup.
112. The status system of claim 111, wherein the means for establishing the communication setup includes a means for establishing a telephone setup.
113. The status system of claim 111, wherein the means for establishing the communication setup includes a means for establishing an instant messenger setup.
114. The status system of claim 111, wherein the means for establishing the communication setup includes a means for establishing a computer-based communication device setup.
115. The status system of claim 111, wherein the means for establishing the communication setup includes a means for establishing an e-mail setup.
116. The status system of claim 110, wherein the means for acquiring the user status information includes means for presenting a time-zone of the receiving means to the transmitting means.
117. The status system of claim 110, wherein the means for acquiring the user status information includes means for presenting a location at which the receiving means is located to the transmitting device.
118. A method comprising:
acquiring a user status information for a user of a transmitting device that indicates a status of the user; and
transmitting the user status information to a receiving device.
119. The method of claim 118, wherein the user status information is sent from the transmitting device to the receiving device.
120. The method of claim 118, wherein the user status information is sent from a network location operationally positioned between the transmitting device and the receiving device to the receiving device.
121. The method of claim 118, wherein the acquiring the user status information includes indicating a location of the user at the transmitting device to the receiving device.
122. The method of claim 118, wherein the acquiring the user status information includes indicating a local time of the transmitting device to the receiving device.
123. The method of claim 118, wherein the acquiring the user status information includes indicating a type of the transmitting device to the receiving device.
124. The method of claim 118, wherein the acquiring the user status information includes indicating one or more device capabilities of the transmitting device to the receiving device.
125. The method of claim 118, wherein the acquiring the user status information includes indicating a condition of the transmitting device at the receiving device.
126. The method of claim 125, wherein the condition includes a weather condition.
127. The method of claim 118, further comprising an establishing a communication setup between the transmitting device and the receiving device, wherein the acquiring the user status information is performed in response to the establishing the communication setup.
Description
TECHNICAL FIELD

The present application relates to status indicators.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

FIG. 1 shows a generalized schematic diagram of one embodiment of a communication system that includes one embodiment of a status indicator;

FIG. 2 shows a flow diagram of one embodiment of a communication flow chart that involves the status indicator as shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 shows a perspective view of one embodiment of a portion of a pair of communication devices, one of the communication devices includes a status indicator;

FIG. 4 shows one embodiment of a status indicator that can be included in one of the communication devices;

FIG. 5 shows another embodiment of a status indicator;

FIG. 6 shows yet another embodiment of a status indicator;

FIG. 7 shows another embodiment of a status indicator which is audio or voice based;

FIG. 8 shows another embodiment of a status indicator having a status light;

FIG. 9 shows yet another embodiment of a status indicator which runs on a computer display;

FIG. 10 shows a block diagram of an embodiment of a status indicator controller;

FIG. 11 shows a generalized schematic diagram of another embodiment of a communication system that includes a status indicator located at the receiving device; and

FIG. 12 shows a flow diagram of another embodiment of a communication flow chart that involves the status indicator.

The use of the same symbols in different drawings typically indicates similar or identical items.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

People are becoming more reliant upon telephones, cellular telephones, satellite telephones, e-mail, instant messengers, faxes, and other communication devices that operate in communication systems in which people can more easily communicate with each other from remote locations, time zones, or countries. Many communication devices or communication systems are becoming more complex, ubiquitous, and varied. The types of communication systems are rapidly changing as the communication technologies improve and change.

This disclosure provides a number of embodiments of status indicators that are included within communication devices that allow users to ascertain the user status information of users at remotely-located communication devices. Certain embodiments of the status indicator can provide such user status information prior to establishing the full communication between the communication devices, or even prior to the user at the receiving device being made aware of the potential communication. It might be rude (and additionally may hinder social or business contacts), to attempt to communicate with a person in the middle of the night at their local time, or when the contacted party is busy.

Many people rely heavily upon scheduling and/or communication programs that indicate when they are attending a meeting, are in a conference, are away from work, or are otherwise busy. People are sometimes less receptive to receiving outside phone calls or other communications when they are busy at work, consulting with other people, or away on a vacation. Several embodiments of the present disclosure may be integrated with a variety of programs that are commercially available including, but not limited to, email/scheduling/calendar programs such as Outlook or Outlook Express® which is produced and distributed by Microsoft, instant messaging programs including, but not limited to, AOL's Instant Messenger and Microsoft's Instant Messaging, etc. In addition, various embodiments of the present disclosure may be integrated with certain Internet chat rooms that provide for substantially instantaneous interactive communication between multiple individuals. Certain embodiments of the present disclosure provide a mechanism to indicate to a communicating party regarding whether it is a suitable time to contact another person by cellular phone, e-mail, or other communication device. The herein-described integration is within the ambit of those skilled in the art.

In addition, certain embodiments of herein-described status indicators allow users to respond to telemarketers; calls from potential communicators; calls from past, present, and/or potential relationships; etc. without the user at the receiving device having to communicate directly. Additionally, certain embodiments of the herein-described status indicators support filtered broadcasts. For example, a commercial or other institution may call up a number of their potential shoppers (e.g., attention Kmart shoppers, certain advertisers using spam, or certain credit card companies, or certain instant message communications such as could be provided by SMS) with the expectation that a low percentage of the called individuals will respond positively. The status indicator can leave a message or some user status information that is tailored to a particular caller, or a particular type of caller.

A variety of status indicators that are capable of providing a variety of user status information are described in this disclosure. In one embodiment, a person making a call over an interactive communication device, such as a cellular telephone to a remote user, can utilize a status indicator located in the cellular telephone that indicates the local time, or the time zone of the user of a receiving device. Such status indicators can assume a wide variety of configurations. Other embodiments of the status indicators that are associated with cellular telephones may display an icon such as the sun in the middle the sky, the setting or rising sun, or the moon to indicate the time at a remotely located telephone that is being called. For example, one embodiment of status indicator can provide either an analog or digital display of the time, or generally display the time (e.g., too late to call) at the called device.

This disclosure provides a number of embodiments of status indicators that allow one user to determine the configuration or user status information of a remotely-located communicating device. Such embodiments may prove useful when the transmitting device is incapable of communicating with the receiving device, or vice versa. For instance, consider those instances where it may not make sense to attempt to communicate with a remotely-located device that is not configured to receive the communication (although, in some instances it might). For example, certain embodiments of cellular phones provide a camera feature that can transmit an image to remote devices such as certain computers or cellular phones. In some instances it may not make sense to transmit an image formed by such a cellular phone to a remote user if the remote device was not configured to receive such an image (although, in some instances it might). Another embodiment of status indicator may include a device indicator that indicates that the receiving device is a type that would be capable of performing or transmitting a particular communication [e.g., if the other computer had a limited input device, such as certain Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) that have a limited data flow].

FIG. 1 shows a block diagram of a generalized embodiment of a communication system 100. The communication system 100 can be configured in different embodiments as a telephone system, a cellular telephone system, a satellite phone system, or Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) system, a computer-based system, an Internet system, an e-mail system, an instant messaging system, a global positioning system (GPS), an audio system, a video system, a teleconferencing system, a videoconferencing system, a PDA system, any similar or analogous communication system, or any combination of the above systems or derivations from these systems. It is understood that the configuration, use, and/or operation of many embodiments of communication systems and/or communication devices may develop in the future as the technology further develops. It is also envisioned that the use of status indicators, as described in this disclosure, can be adapted to changes in configurations, uses, and operations.

The embodiment of the communication system 100, as described with respect to FIG. 1, includes a transmitting device 102, a receiving device 104, and the communication network 106 that allows the types of communication between the transmitting device 102 and the receiving device 104 as described in this disclosure. Also shown in dotted lines (in FIGS. 1 and 11) is a back channel connection that provides an operational coupling through which data can be transmitted between the transmitting device 102 and the receiving device 104. In certain embodiments, the back-channel connection can be integrated within the communication network 106. Within this disclosure, the term “transmitting device” applies to those devices that initially contact at least one other device to establish a communication therebetween. Within this disclosure, the term “receiving device” pertains to those devices to which the original contact is being made from at least one transmitting device. In many embodiments of the present disclosure, both the transmitting device 102 and the receiving device 104 can provide both transmitting and receiving functions to provide interactive communications.

While the associated figures show, and this disclosure describes with respect to the figures, a single transmitting device 102 communicating relative to a single receiving device, it is to be understood that certain embodiments of the communication system 100 can be configured to include a number of receiving devices 104 and/or a number of transmitting devices 102. For example, in one embodiment, the transmitting device 102 can be configured to attempt to establish a broadcast to a number of receiving devices 104 substantially simultaneously, and thereupon receive a number of return status indications (such as would be used by broadcasts, e.g., by credit card vendors).

One embodiment of the transmitting device 102, as described with respect to FIG. 1, includes a status indicator 110. Many embodiments of the status indicator 110 indicate the user status information of a user who is located at the receiving device 104 to a user at the transmitting device 102. There are a large variety of types of user status information that can be indicated by the status indicator 110 that include, but are not limited to: the location of the user at the receiving device 104, the time of day of the user in the receiving device, the type of the receiving device, the configuration of the receiving device, the potential data flow to or from the receiving device, the current time zone for a user in the receiving device, the time zone at which the user at the receiving device is normally located (e.g., based for example on the area code of the receiving device, the home address of the user of the receiving device, or the indicated location as determined by the receiving device), the city at which the receiving device is located, and/or a condition such as the temperature or weather at the receiving device 104. There are also a variety of techniques by which the user status information can be projected to the user that include, but are not limited to, displaying the user status information on a screen, projecting a voice or audio to indicate the user status information, or providing one or more lit indicators that each correspond to a particular status to present the user status information such as “busy” or “available for contact”. In one embodiment, the receiving device 104 includes a Global Positioning System (GPS) that provides positional information or locational information about the receiving device. Other position-determining devices that obtain the position or location of the receiving device 104 are within the intended scope of the present disclosure.

In certain embodiments, the status indicator 110 acquires such user status information as whether the status indicator 110 is configured to act within the transmitting device and/or the receiving device such as a telephone, a cellular telephone, a computer-based device, an e-mail device, a personal digital assistant (PDA), a teleconferencing device, an audio device, or a video device, etc. The type of the receiving device can be determined during an initial setup portion of the communications between the transmitting device and the receiving device using the status indicator 110 to ensure a suitable communication. For example, in some instances it may not make sense to attempt to download a large image data file to a voice-only cellular telephone that is incapable of displaying such a file (although, in some instances it might). It also may not make sense to attempt to communicate with a computer-based device (such as a PDA) if either the transmitting device or the receiving device has insufficient processing, receiving, data storage, or transmitting capabilities to suitably process the data it would receive (although, in some instances it might).

It may also be desirable to transmit such configuration user status information to certain embodiments of the status indicator 110 to indicate the user status information of the receiving device 104 and/or the user status information of the user of the receiving device. For example, the receiving device 104 may be configured to include calendar-based scheduling software, such as Outlook. The user at the receiving device 104 may select to provide input to a remote a caller at a transmitting device indicating that he/she is busy at a particular time, such as being in a meeting. In one embodiment, it may be desirable to transmit the duration of the meeting of the receiving device 104 to the status indicator 110 such that the duration is displayed at the transmitting device 102. The particular content of the user status information that is indicated over the status indicator 110 at the transmitting device can be determined largely based on user input, device type, and/or device configuration of the transmitting device 102 and/or the receiving device 104.

FIG. 2 shows a flow diagram of one embodiment of a communication flow chart 200 that establishes a communication between the transmitting device 102 and the receiving device 104 of the communication system 100 using the status indicator 110 as described with respect to FIG. 1. In this disclosure, the flow charts such as shown in FIGS. 2 and 12 are intended to apply to both processes (such as are often protected by method claims or means plus function claims), or structure (such as are often protected by apparatus claims or means plus function claims) as indicated by context. More particularly, one embodiment of such a structure represents a general purpose computer such as described with respect to FIG. 10 that runs a computer program to perform a process outlined by the flow chart. The embodiment of the communication flow chart 200 includes a step 202 in which the transmitting device 102 attempts to establish a communication setup with the receiving device 104. The particulars of the communication setup depend largely upon the particulars of the communication system 100. In certain embodiments of communication systems 100 that are configured to support such telecommunication devices as cellular telephones, conventional telephones, facsimile machines, satellite telephones, or other types of phones, the communication setup can be characterized as those steps that occur prior to the transmitting device dialing, or somehow otherwise establishing, the communication connection or coupling to the receiving device. The telephone setup technique continues in which the telephone call routing is determined. During the call routing, certain information including the user status information in certain embodiments can be provided from the receiving device back to the transmitting device. The telephone setup techniques often continue to those portions of the telephone communication in which a ringing signal is transmitted from the transmitting device to the receiving device.

In those embodiments of communication setup in which the communication system 100 includes a computer-based system, the communication setup can be characterized as a computer setup or a network setup. Certain embodiments of the computer setup determine whether the user at the receiving device is busy, or alternatively whether the time or user equipment is inappropriate to establish a direct computer communication Additionally, in certain embodiments, the computer setup determines a routing path for the communication through the communication system.

Many embodiments of the computer communications are characterized as responsive communications, which, for purposes of this disclosure, indicate that the communications between the user at the transmitting device and the user at the receiving device respond to each other in a substantially real-time fashion. Examples of such responsive communications include, but are not limited to: instant messaging, Internet chat rooms, and telephones. Certain embodiments of conventional e-mail follow a non-responsive format where a first computer-user sends an e-mail to a second computer user, and then waits for some undetermined duration for the response. Additionally, conventional e-mail can be configured to allow two remote users to communicate responsively. There are also a variety of responsive e-mail formats and techniques that are within the scope of the present disclosure, and also certain embodiments of non-responsive e-mail formats are within the scope of the present disclosure.

For example, during these responsive communications, the user at the transmitting device can send an e-mail or other communication, which may be very quickly responded to by the user at the receiving device, etc. as is typical with two-way communications. Since many embodiments of such direct computer communications often rely upon such quick responses between the users at the transmitting and receiving devices, it is important to ensure that both users can carry on the communications, both the transmitting and receiving devices are capable of carrying on the communication, or it is a suitable time for the communication (e.g., not in the middle of the night).

The embodiment of the communication flow chart 200 as described with respect to FIG. 2 continues to step 204 in which a query is performed to derive user status information. The term “query” is typically applied to data processing within a computer or communication system, and often database processing operations in particular. Performing a query on some data acts to filter the data being queried into that filtered data that satisfies the query. Within this disclosure, the term is also intended to apply to such signaling and/or monitoring techniques that may be applied to determine user status information of other embodiments of the communication systems 100 of the present disclosure, such as in telecommunication devices. The derived user status information corresponds to that type of information which may be displayed or projected over the different embodiments of the status indicator 110, as described with respect to FIG. 1. As such, in many embodiments, the derived user status information may apply to the user at the receiving device and/or the receiving device itself.

The query that is performed to derive the user status information, as described with respect to step 204, is in many embodiments performed on data stored in a database (not shown). Many embodiments of such queries may rely upon such database query software languages as Structured Query Language (SQL) that is based on the attempted communication being established from the transmitting device. In certain embodiments, at least a portion of the data that is included in the queried database is stored in the receiving device 104. In other embodiments, at least part of the data that is included in the queried database is stored at a network location that is located at some operational location between the receiving device 104 and the transmitting device 102. Such locating of the data and/or databases at one or multiple potential locations across the communication system 100 generally becomes better understood considering networking techniques and network devices.

The embodiment of the communication flow chart 200 as described with respect to FIG. 2 continues to step 206, in which the user status information of the receiving device 104, such as can be presented are displayed in the status indicator 110 of the transmitting device, is acquired at the transmitting device 102. Such acquiring of the user status information at the status indicator 110 in many embodiments acts to derive the contents of the user status information in response to the query of step 204 (or alternatively, the response to signaling or other communications). Thereupon, the user status information is provided over the status indicator 110 to a user at the transmitting device 102. The technique by which the user status information is provided depends largely on the configuration or type of the status indicator, and may include but is not limited to displaying the data on a display, projecting the data as voice or audio, etc. Many embodiments of the communication flow chart 200 end at step 206 at which the user status information of the user at the receiving device is provided to the transmitting device. Following the acquiring of the user status information at the status indicator 110, as described with respect to step 206, certain embodiments of the communication flow chart 200 continue to step 208 in which the communication setup (as attempted in step 202) is established.

In the embodiment of communication flow chart 200 as described with respect to FIG. 2, the communication flow chart continues to decision 210 in which the user at the transmitting device is asked whether they still desire to establish a communication connection or coupling considering the user status information that has been presented to the transmitting device. If the answer to the decision 210 is yes, then one embodiment of the communication flow chart 200 continues to step 216 in which the communication connection or coupling is established between the transmitting device and the receiving device based on the communication setup.

For those embodiments of the communication system 100 that are telephone-based, the communication connection may continue, for example, by forwarding a ringing signal from the transmitting device to the receiving device that causes the receiving telephone to ring. After the user at the receiving device picks up the ringing telephone, the communication connection is thereupon acquired or established. In those embodiments of the communication system 100 that are computer-based, a message such as by e-mail can be provided to indicate the particulars of the user status information of the communication.

For those embodiments of the communication system 100 that are computer-based, the communication connection may provide such features as instant messaging, chat rooms, and responsive e-mail communications between the transmitting device and the receiving device. VOIP telephone communications may be considered as one embodiment of a hybrid communication connection that includes both computer-based and telephone-based communication aspects.

In certain embodiments of the communication flow chart 200 in which the answer to the decision 210 is no, the communication flow chart continues to step 212 in which the communication system does not establish a communication connection. Following step 212, in one embodiment of the communication flow chart 200, a user at the transmitting device is provided with an option to leave a message at the receiving device in step 214, the format and type of the message can vary depending upon the embodiment of the status indicator.

In certain embodiments of the communication flow chart, the user status information of the user at the receiving device can be provided over the status indicator 110 with an indication of a suitable time to make a similar contact with the user at the receiving device. For example, the user status information at the status indicator may indicate that it is 3 a.m. at the receiving device, and the communication should be attempted later, such as in six hours or later. As such, the communications between the transmitting device and the receiving device can be made conditional upon an indication that is provided by the status indicator, or alternatively such calls can be deferred by the user of the transmitting device until a more suitable time for the user of the receiving device.

FIG. 3 shows another embodiment of the communication system 100, in which both the transmitting device 102 and the receiving device 104 are configured as cellular telephones. In the embodiment of the communication system 100, the communication network 106 includes a telecommunication network that is generally known, and will not be further described herein. In one embodiment, the status indicator 110 is provided as portion of a display 302.

Certain embodiments of the status indicator can include a variety of icons or shapes to project the user status information of the receiving device to the transmitting device. For example, the display can provide an indication of the time at the receiving device using either an icon that indicates the time of day, displays the actual time at the receiving device, or alternatively indicates the location of the receiving device. One embodiment of an icon would include, e.g., a moon icon symbol that indicates that it is nighttime at the receiving device, while a sun icon could be used to indicate that it is daytime at the receiving device. The time of day to be further modified by, for example, using an icon of the setting sun indicating that it is twilight at the receiving device. A large variety of icons, time zones, times, location, and other indications that relate to the receiving device that are displayed at the transmitting device are within the intended scope of the present disclosure.

A number of status indicators 110 that display user status information are described with respect to FIGS. 4, 5, and 6. The embodiment of the status indicator described with respect to FIG. 4 indicates a name of the party being called (e.g., Joe Smith), a local time at the receiving device (e.g., 11:00 a.m.), a location of the receiving device (e.g. the party being contacted is currently in Paris), and a condition including the temperature at the receiving device (e.g. the current temperature at the called cell phone in London, England is 78° F.). Certain embodiments of the status indicator 110 would provide all of the information as described with respect to FIG. 4, while other embodiments of the status indicator would only provide some of this information.

It is envisioned that user status information can be provided with respect to some location or landmark. For example, a status indicator may indicate that a user is located at some landmark or location. Within this disclosure, the terms landmark or location may be applied to some geometrically broad term such as in a specific time zone, a specific city, or a specific country. Alternatively, much narrower landmark or location terminology may be used. For example, a user of a communication system having a status indicator can be described as being located in a particular commercial location (e.g., a Starbucks™ coffee shop or at Sears™), at a particular longitude and latitude coordinate or street address location such as provided by GPS or other positional systems, at a work location, or at a specific address. The specificity of the location or landmark can be determined by input from the user at the receiving device, input from the user at the transmitting device, and/or input from a system administrator.

While one embodiment of the status indicator only indicates the time at the receiving device, another embodiment would indicate the phone number being called, and yet another embodiment would include the location of the receiving device. Another embodiment of the status indicator would indicate the time zone at which the receiving device is located. Input by the users at both the transmitting device and the receiving device can determine the particular user status information displayed over the status indicator.

The embodiment of the status indicator 110 as described with respect to FIG. 5 differs from the status indicator of FIG. 4 in that the call to the receiving device is being made in the middle of the night in the FIG. 5 embodiment. In the FIG. 5 embodiment of the status indicator, the status indicator suggests placing the communication later such as at some convenient time for the user of the receiving device. In this disclosure, the term “convenient” time generally covers re-establishing communication when any attribute of the receiving device changes; for example, the time at the receiving device changes, the weather changes, or a meeting ends. The particular technology associated with delaying a communication varies based upon the particular communication system being used. For example, certain embodiments of computer-based communication systems could delay the transmission of a communication for a prescribed duration until a suitable e-mail or instant messenger would be transmitted. In certain telecommunication systems, by comparison, an individual may have to wait for some duration or a particular time to attempt the communication again.

In one embodiment of the status indicator, the user has an option. For certain types of emergency calls, the user can dial some prescribed number (e.g., 5) and a call may be provided to the user at the receiving device regardless of the time at the receiving device. Alternatively, if the call is not an emergency call, the status indicator can either indicate an option to leave a message (e.g. by dialing some alternative number such as 6). Alternatively, the status indicator can indicate when the user at the receiving device will be able to receive the call (e.g., call Joe Johnson again in four hours at 9:00 am, Joe's time). For certain communications such as telecommunication-based communications, the user at the transmitting device can hang up to end the attempt to communicate with the user at the receiving device. In computer-based communications, the user of the transmitting device can be provided with the option of altering the contents of the communication depending upon the present status (e.g., leave a message), or the time at which the communication is transmitted.

Another embodiment of the status indicator 110 is described with respect to FIG. 6, in which the status indicator indicates the user at the receiving device is busy. In one instance, the status indicator can provide an indication of when the user at a receiving device can be called back (e.g., in one hour). The particular user status information that is being displayed on the status indicator at the transmitting device can in certain embodiments be selected based upon user input at the receiving device, user input at the transmitting device, user input at some network location between the transmitting device in the receiving device, or some other input to some network or device locations.

Such determination of the type of user status information that would be provided to a transmitting device can be determined on a case-by-case basis as a particular communication setup is being received at a receiving device, or alternatively can be established beforehand prior to the receiving the communication setup at the receiving device. For example, a user at the receiving device can determine that they do not want their particular location to be sent out to any caller, or only to selected callers. Alternatively, a user at the receiving device can maintain an override in which they determine the particular user status information to be transmitted to any particular caller. In certain embodiments, a user at the receiving device can even transmit inaccurate user status information, such as indicating that they are located at some different location from where they are actually located in those instances that they do not wish to have the user at the transmitting device know where they are located. In other instances, the user at the receiving device can determine that it is acceptable to output their general location, or a more precise location, to either a specific caller, or alternatively, any type of call that is being received. There are a wide variety of status indicator configurations and variations that can be controlled by the users at the transmitting device and/or the receiving device. In one embodiment, the user at the receiving device can input data in the receiving device to only respond to certain phone numbers, or alternatively wholly respond to certain callers, or callers from certain locations.

Of the above-described embodiments of the status indicator 110, the user status information of the user at the receiving device 104 is displayed on the display at the transmitting device 102. There are a wide variety of other embodiments of status indicators. For example, FIG. 7 shows an alternate embodiment of the status indicator in which the user status information is protected as audio or voice to a user that is located at the transmitting device. For example, similar user status information as described with respect to the embodiments of this status indicators of FIG. 4, 5, or 6 can be protected as audio or voice as user status information at the transmitting device.

Alternatively, one relatively simplified embodiment of a status indicator that is described with respect to FIG. 8 is provided in which a light or other indicator that indicates that the user at the receiving device is busy, is at a location or time at which the user should presently not be disturbed, or has some particular status that is identified with that indicator. The particulars about the user status information can be displayed over another display that is included in the status indicator (e.g., a message that is displayed over the cellular telephone). Different embodiments of the status indicator can be configured relatively simply or with more complexity depending upon the desired purpose.

FIG. 9 shows one embodiment of a status indicator that is applied to a display 902 for a computer-based communication system. The display 902 displays a communication (e.g., e-mail) window 904. In one embodiment, within the communication window 904 is a status indicator window 906 that indicates the user status information at a receiving device (e.g., a receiving computer). The status indicator window 906 indicates, for example, that the user at the receiving device is busy at the current time, and can be contacted in 20 minutes. The status indicator can also indicate that, for example, it is the middle of the night for a user with the receiving device. Different embodiments of the status indicator, as indicated in FIG. 10, can be configured to run as a feature or portion of an application program such as e-mail, instant messaging, etc. Alternatively, the status indicator can be provided as a distinct program. Many embodiments of the status indicator that are computer-based can often display more user status information than phone-based embodiments since the dimensions of current displays for computers are generally physically larger than current displays for phones.

A variety of different embodiment of switches, buttons, mouse-click mechanisms, voice prompts, timeout mechanisms, and the like can be provided to allow a user at the transmitting device to respond to user status information that is input over the status indicator. In certain embodiments of phone-based status indicators, for example, the user may be prompted to depress certain numbers from a numerical keypad to indicate their selections of how to respond to the user status information. For certain embodiments of computer-based status indicators, a user at the transmitting computer may be prompted to click on certain icons or depress soft-buttons to input their selections. In certain embodiments of phone-based and/or computer-based status indicators, hard buttons can also be used to provide user selections from the status indicator. Within this disclosure, the term “hard button” indicates a button which is pressed manually, such as the key on the telephone. The term “soft button” implies a button that exists on the computer display or monitor, which is pressed using an input/output device such as a mouse or a keyboard. Other embodiments can utilize a time-out mechanism to provide an appropriate response at a desired time such as after a particular ring (e.g., the second ring) at the receiving device in a telecommunication system. In other embodiments of phone-based and/or computer-based status indicators, speech recognition programs and other voice-processing programs can be used to input and/or process voice information.

FIG. 10 shows one embodiment of the status indicator 110, as described with respect to FIG. 1, which includes a status indicator controller 1000. The communication network 106 can provide for communications that are necessary for the operation of the status indicator 110, as described herein. One embodiment of the status indicator controller 1000 includes a central processing unit (CPU) 1002, a memory 1004, a circuit portion 1006, and an input output interface (I/O) 1008 that may include a bus (not shown). Different embodiments of the status indicator controller 1000 can be a general-purpose computer, a microprocessor, a microcontroller, and/or any other known suitable type of computer or controller that can be implemented in hardware, software, and/or firmware. Certain portions of the status indicator controller 1000 can be physically or operationally configured in the transmitting device 102, the communication network 106, and/or the receiving device 104 as described with respect to FIG. 1. In one embodiment, the CPU 1002 performs the processing and arithmetic operations for the status indicator controller 1000. The status indicator controller 1000 controls the signal processing, database querying and response, computational, timing, data transfer, and other processes associated with the status indicator.

Certain embodiments of the memory 1004 include random access memory (RAM) and read only memory (ROM) that together store the computer programs, operands, and other parameters that control the operation of the status indicator. The bus provides for digital information transmissions between CPU 1002, circuit portion 1006, memory 1004, and I/O 1008. The bus also connects I/O 1008 to the portions of the status indicator that either receive digital information from, or transmit digital information to other portions of the communication system 100.

I/O 1008 provides an interface to control the transmissions of digital information between each of the components in the status indicator controller 1000. The I/O 1008 also provides an interface between the components of the status indicator controller 1000 and different portions of the status indicator. The circuit portion 1006 can include such other user interface devices as a display and/or a keyboard.

In another embodiment, the status indicator controller 1000 can be constructed as a specific-purpose computer such as an application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC), a microprocessor, a microcomputer, or other similar devices.

A distinct status indicator controller 1000 can be integrated into certain embodiments of the transmitting device 102, the receiving device 104, and/or the communication network 106, as described with respect to FIG. 1 or 3. While those embodiments of status indicators that are located at the transmitting device can provide a variety of user status information about the user at the receiving device, another embodiment of the status indicator that is located at the receiving device can provide similar user status information about the user at the transmitting device.

FIG. 11 shows a generalized schematic diagram of such an embodiment of a communication system that includes a status indicator located at the receiving device. The above-described embodiments of the status indicator 110 are located in the transmitting device 102, such as described with respect to FIG. 1. These embodiments of the status indicator 100 describe the user status information of the user at the receiving device 104 relative to the transmitting device 102. It is envisioned that there can be other embodiments of the status indicator 1110, as described with respect to FIG. 11, in which the status indicator 1110 is located in the receiving device 104. The embodiments of the status indicator 1110 that are included in the transmitting device 102 as described with respect to FIG. 11 act to provide the user status information of a user of the transmitting device 102 to the receiving device 104. The types of user status information, certain aspects of the status indicator, and the techniques to display the user status information in the embodiment of the embodiment of the communication system 100 as described above this disclosure with respect to FIGS. 1 to 10 also apply to the embodiment of the communication system as described with respect to FIG. 11.

FIG. 12 shows a flow diagram of another embodiment of a communication process that involves the status indicator as shown in the communication system 100 of FIG. 11. FIG. 12 shows a diagram of another embodiment of the communication flow chart 200 that establishes a communication between the transmitting device 102 and the receiving device 104 of the communication system 100 using the status indicator 110 as described with respect to FIG. 1. This embodiment of the communication flow chart 200 includes step 202 in which the transmitting device 102 attempts to establish a communication setup with the receiving device 104. The particulars of the communication setup depend largely upon the communication system 100.

The embodiment of the communication flow chart 1200 as described with respect to FIG. 12 continues to step 1204 in which the user status information is forwarded from the transmitting device to the receiving device. The derived user status information corresponds to that type of information which may be displayed, and can be projected over the different embodiments of the status indicator 1110 as described with respect to FIG. 11. As such, the derived user status information in many embodiments may apply to the user status information obtained about the user at the transmitting device 102 and/or the user status information or configuration of the transmitting device to the receiving device 104.

In certain embodiments, at least a portion of the data that is included in the user status information is stored in the transmitting device. In other embodiments, at least part of the data that is included in the user status information is stored at a network location that is located at some operational location between the transmitting device 102 and the receiving device 104.

The embodiment of the communication flow chart 1200 as described with respect to FIG. 12 continues to step 1206, in which the user status information of the transmitting device 102 such as might be displayed over the status indicator 1110 of the receiving device 104 is acquired at the receiving device. Such acquiring of the user status information at the status indicator 1110 of the receiving device 104 in many embodiments acts to the forward the contents of the user status information (or alternatively, the response to signaling or other communications). Thereupon, the user status information is provided to the status indicator 1110 to a user at the receiving device 104. The technique by which the user status information is provided depends largely on the configuration of the status indicator and may include, but is not limited to, displaying the data on a display, projecting the data as voice or audio, etc. Many embodiments of communication flow chart 1200 end at step 1206 at which the user status information of the user at the receiving device 102 is provided to the transmitting device 104. Following the acquiring of the user status information at the status indicator 110 in the receiving device 104, as described with respect to step 1206, certain embodiments of the communication flow chart 200 continue to step 1208 in which the communication setup as attempted in step 1202 is established.

In the embodiment of communication flow chart 1200 as described with respect to FIG. 12, the communication flow chart continues to decision 1210 in which the user at the receiving device 104 is asked whether they desire to establish a communication connection considering the user status information pertaining to the user at the transmitting device that has been presented to the receiving device. If the answer to the decision 1210 is yes, then one embodiment of the communication flow chart 1200 continues to step 1216 in which the communication connection is established between the transmitting device 102 and the receiving device 104 based on the communication setup.

In certain embodiments of the communication flow chart 1200 in which the answer to the decision 1210 is no, the communication flow chart continues to step 1212 in which the communication system does not establish a communication connection. Following step 1212, in one embodiment of the communication flow chart 1200 described with respect to FIG. 12, a user at the transmitting device 102 is provided with an option to leave a message at the receiving device in step 1214, the format and type of the message can vary depending upon the embodiment of the status indicator.

This disclosure provides a number of embodiments of the status indicator that provide a variety of user status information that pertains to the user at a transmitting device to the user at the receiving device, or alternatively, the user status information of a user at the transmitting device to the receiving device. Different embodiments of the status indicators can be included in such embodiments of the communication system 100 as telecommunication systems, computer systems, audio systems, video systems, teleconferencing systems, and/or hybrid combinations of certain ones of these systems. The embodiments of the status indicator as described with respect to this disclosure are intended to be illustrative in nature, and are not limiting its scope.

Those having skill in the art will recognize that the state of the art has progressed to the point where there is little distinction left between hardware and software implementations of aspects of systems; the use of hardware or software is generally (but not always, in that in certain contexts the choice between hardware and software can become significant) a design choice representing cost vs. efficiency tradeoffs. Those having skill in the art will appreciate that there are various vehicles by which processes and/or systems and/or other technologies described herein can be effected (e.g., hardware, software, and/or firmware), and that the preferred vehicle will vary with the context in which the processes and/or systems and/or other technologies are deployed. For example, if an implementer determines that speed and accuracy are paramount, the implementer may opt for a mainly hardware and/or firmware vehicle; alternatively, if flexibility is paramount, the implementer may opt for a mainly software implementation; or, yet again alternatively, the implementer may opt for some combination of hardware, software, and/or firmware. Hence, there are several possible vehicles by which the processes and/or devices and/or other technologies described herein may be effected, none of which is inherently superior to the other in that any vehicle to be utilized is a choice dependent upon the context in which the vehicle will be deployed and the specific concerns (e.g., speed, flexibility, or predictability) of the implementer, any of which may vary.

The foregoing detailed description has set forth various embodiments of the devices and/or processes via the use of block diagrams, flowcharts, and/or examples. Insofar as such block diagrams, flowcharts, and/or examples contain one or more functions and/or operations, it will be understood by those within the art that each function and/or operation within such block diagrams, flowcharts, or examples can be implemented, individually and/or collectively, by a wide range of hardware, software, firmware, or virtually any combination thereof. In one embodiment, several portions of the subject matter described herein may be implemented via Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs), Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs), digital signal processors (DSPs), or other integrated formats. However, those skilled in the art will recognize that some aspects of the embodiments disclosed herein, in whole or in part, can be equivalently implemented in standard integrated circuits, as one or more computer programs running on one or more computers (e.g., as one or more programs running on one or more computer systems), as one or more programs running on one or more processors (e.g., as one or more programs running on one or more microprocessors), as firmware, or as virtually any combination thereof, and that designing the circuitry and/or writing the code for the software and or firmware would be well within the skill of one of skill in the art in light of this disclosure. In addition, those skilled in the art will appreciate that the mechanisms of the subject matter described herein are capable of being distributed as a program product in a variety of forms, and that an illustrative embodiment of the subject matter described herein applies equally regardless of the particular type of signal bearing media used to actually carry out the distribution. Examples of a signal bearing media include, but are not limited to, the following: recordable type media such as floppy disks, hard disk drives, CD ROMs, digital tape, and computer memory; and transmission type media such as digital and analog communication links using TDM or IP based communication links (e.g., packet links).

All of the above U.S. patents, U.S. patent application publications, U.S. patent applications, foreign patents, foreign patent applications and non-patent publications referred to in this specification and/or listed in any Application Data Sheet, are incorporated herein by reference, in their entireties.

The herein described aspects depict different components contained within, or connected with, different other components. It is to be understood that such depicted architectures are merely exemplary, and that in fact many other architectures can be implemented which achieve the same functionality. In a conceptual sense, any arrangement of components to achieve the same functionality is effectively “associated” such that the desired functionality is achieved. Hence, any two components herein combined to achieve a particular functionality can be seen as “associated with” each other such that the desired functionality is achieved, irrespective of architectures or intermedial components. Likewise, any two components so associated can also be viewed as being “operably connected”, or “operably coupled”, to each other to achieve the desired functionality, and any two components capable of being so associated can also be viewed as being “operably couplable”, to each other to achieve the desired functionality. Specific examples of operably couplable include but are not limited to physically mateable and/or physically interacting components and/or wirelessly interactable and/or wirelessly interacting components and/or logically interacting and/or logically interactable components.

It is to be understood by those skilled in the art that, in general, that the terms used in the disclosure, including the drawings and the appended claims, are generally intended as “open” terms. For example, the term “including” should be interpreted as “including but not limited to”; the term “having” should be interpreted as “having at least”; and the term “includes” should be interpreted as “includes, but is not limited to”; etc. In this disclosure and the appended claims, the terms a “the”, and “at least one” are intended to apply inclusively to one or a plurality of those items.

Furthermore, in those instances where a convention analogous to “at least one of A, B, and C, etc.” is used, in general such a construction is intended in the sense one having skill in the art would understand the convention (e.g., “a system having at least one of A, B, and C” would include but not be limited to systems that have A alone, B alone, C alone, A and B together, A and C together, B and C together, and/or A, B, and C together, etc.). In those instances where a convention analogous to “at least one of A, B, or C, etc.” is used, in general such a construction is intended in the sense one having skill in the art would understand the convention (e.g., “a system having at least one of A, B, or C” would include but not be limited to systems that have A alone, B alone, C alone, A and B together, A and C together, B and C together, and/or A, B, and C together, etc.).

Those skilled in the art will appreciate that the herein-described specific exemplary processes and/or devices and/or technologies are representative of more general processes and/or devices and/or technologies taught elsewhere herein, such as in the claims filed herewith and/or elsewhere in the present application.

Within this disclosure, elements that perform similar functions in a similar way in different embodiments may be provided with the same or similar numerical reference characters in the figures.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification370/410
International ClassificationH04L12/28, H04L12/56
Cooperative ClassificationH04L67/24, H04L67/14, H04L67/18, H04L67/36
European ClassificationH04L29/08N35, H04L29/08N23, H04L29/08N13
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Feb 4, 2005ASAssignment
Owner name: SEARETE LLC, WASHINGTON
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:JUNG, EDWARD K.Y.;LEVIEN, ROYCE A.;LORD, ROBERT W.;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:016229/0481;SIGNING DATES FROM 20040118 TO 20041228